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Chris L. Johnson, PsyD

Chris L. Johnson, PsyD

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

As the founder and CEO of Q4 Consulting, I’m passionate about the power that embodied learning, conscious leadership and real conversations have to transform us and our organizations. The intersection of conscious business and powerful women leaders is my sweet spot. To that end, I’m the Learning & Practice Chair for the Chicago Chapter of Conscious Capitalism where we actively promote the model of conscious, generative businesses.

For those not familiar, embodied learning means there is alignment between your cognitive thoughts, emotional state and physical body that allows us to take new actions. It’s the integration of all these aspects, and developed through practice, that results in Core Presence™.

As a trauma-focused psychologist with an emphasis on a somatic (body-based) approach, and mindfulness, my Core Presence™ Process includes experimental practices that integrate Mindful Attention, 360°Awareness and the power of Language to build capacity for critical conversations and powerful action.

My executive coaching clients and their teams gain a powerful advantage in developing their Core Presence™ by learning to focus their attention, hone their listening skills and direct their individual and collective energies toward what matters most.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

Given my focus on the importance of conversations, my favorite Ellevate memories have been the luncheons hosted by the incredible, Rana Lee, member of the Chicago Ellevate Leadership Team. Rana led us in focused conversations that helped us to build our identities and hone our purpose. She also made these meetings both energizing and exciting. Gratefully, I discovered Ellevate in June 2017, and became a member and Squad Moderator in January 2018. Ellevate is a wealth of resources and gives me access to other amazing and powerful women who care about the things that I do. I’m looking forward to learning and connecting even more in this coming year!

How would you define your professional mission?

Every day, I keep my focus on one thing: extending passion and purpose through embodied leadership to innovators creating our future—one conversation at a time. It's not just a professional mission, it's why I'm on the planet.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

I’m known for creating trust with those who value honesty, deep listening, straight talk and my commitment to their success. This requires me to be exceptionally curious, to meet people where they are without judgement and to consistently practice the skills I teach others to access their Core Presence™.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

In short, my parents. My father suffered with a horrible stutter, though he could speak with fluency after having a beer. As you might guess, this coping strategy didn’t bode well for effective conversations at home, despite all his outward success as an entrepreneur. As a woman in business, I looked to my mother who had to deal with her own intense negative emotions and still focus on her work as a business owner. She’s a rock.

As a result, the strands of my early interest in helping people disentangle themselves through having real conversations stemmed from my own personal experiences. During the course of my 25-year career, what’s emerged is an emphasis on supporting people to care for one another and the earth by cultivating generative businesses.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

Everyone will be able to engage in bolder, more effective conversations that matter. Women leaders will have bigger voices and prominent roles in directing the transformation of our businesses, communities and planet. Embodied conversations will change the world, moving us beyond our differences, and focusing us on the actions needed to achieve substantive, inclusive and sustainable impacts.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

I have had a calling my whole life to listen to conversations, and had to learn to work with my own emotions. Early on I came to know the power of someone listening to me, or what I call generative listening. Now, I channel my care for people into all aspects of my work. I bring my whole self to the table and teach others to do the same. When leaders step into their Core Presence™ they transform their team and their impact.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

Ever since I’ve was a kid, I’ve held space for conversations—tender ones, tough ones, too. My ability to hold lots of points of view at the same time helps me to build trust and express compassion.

What does success look like to you?

Truth be told, I'm the cumulative investment of a lot of amazing teachers in my life. Formal and informal teachers who steeped in transformation, growth, health in our communities, and at their essence, really love people.

I’m driven by the vision of a generative future for all, rather than simply being motivated by the bottom line.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

Here’s some straight-talk. I don’t believe work-life balance is possible. It’s a misnomer. Since balance is not only elusive but tentative (life does throw us daily curve balls), it’s really about how to integrate the elements of what matters most in our lives in such a way that we’re engaged with life, rested and energized to be our best self regardless of the situation.

Personally, I can tend to overwork and over focus. Useful sometimes, but often overdone. When feeling the effects of this in my body (tense shoulders, furrowed brow, headache), which in turn impacts clarity of thought and energy. I’ve learned to push pause, take a breath and feel it deeply. It’s a re-set for a few moments.

My no-fail practice for creating balance is walking mindfulness. We know from neuroscience research that movement is essential to shifting energies, mood, and mindset. Walking with awareness gives our mind something to focus on while supporting a shift that’s more productive. Studies show that even 10 minutes of walking will result in an energized, engaged state of mind.


Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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